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In The Fifteenth Year Of Tiberius Caesar

John the Baptist was a Levite prophet (John's father was a Temple Levite i.e. Luke 1:5,57-66; see also Levites and Why Wasn't Christ A Levite?) whose life's entire purpose (John would not have been born otherwise; see The Other Miraculous Birth) was to "prepare the way" for the ministry of Jesus Christ (see The Elijahs). The ministry of the The Messiah lasted only about 3 years (of His first coming; see the Fact Finder question below to understand why He is returning). As a preparation for it, John's ministry lasted even less.

"3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee [see The Herods], and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3:1-6 KJV)

"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar"

As stated above, John's ministry began its rapid rise in "the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar." Tiberius became emperor in about 14 AD; the fifteenth year of his reign was within a year of the beginning of the ministry of the Christ. John's public ministry would therefore have lasted only months before Herod arrested and killed him. But during that brief time, John prepared the way for the Messiah, just as he was prophesied to do.

The Holy Scriptures

"3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 3:9 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

3:12 Then came also Publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

3:13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?

And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:7-15 KJV)

John's "out of nowhere" popularity caused some to wonder if he were the Messiah. But John's ministry was to prepare the way for Him, as John plainly preached.

"3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with The Holy Ghost and with fire [see Baptism Of Fire]: 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. 3:18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

3:19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 3:20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison." (Luke 3:15-20 KJV)

Just before his arrest, John baptized the Messiah (see The Rising Of The Prophet).

"3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why didn't the Messiah reign the first time that He came to earth?
See Why Two Comings Of The Christ?

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